So high

in their leafy silence

over Kells, over Durrow,

as the Vikings

raged south -

the old monks

made the alphabet


they dipped iron

into azure and

indigo: they gave strange

wings to their os

and es: their vowels

clung on with

talons and the thin

ribbed wolves

that had gone north

left their frozen winters

and were lured back

to their consonants.